November’s Mom of the Month
Megan Lloyd is a mommy to two-year-old Jack, the light of her life. Until May of 2016, Jack was the picture of health – a rambunctious, busy, determined, silly, and intelligent little boy. In late May, Megan noticed a lump just to the left of his spine and her mommy intuition went crazy. In a matter of the few weeks it took to get in for an MRI and an official diagnosis, Jack had already started dragging his left foot. On June 7th, 2016, Jack was diagnosed with cancer. The final diagnosis would come a week later: Stage 2A Low Risk Ganglio Neuroblastoma. He had a massive tumor wrapping around his spine, in the spinal canal, and all through his abdominal cavity. The tumor was beginning to compress his spine and could have paralyzed him permanently. Jack’s cancer story is a little unique in that it was determined that surgery alone had a very high chance of curing the cancer since it had not metastasized– he was never administered any chemotherapy or cancer related medications. Instead, Jack had three surgeries over the course of ten days to remove over 90% of the tumor from his body. Jack is now being monitored every three months with MRIs and blood work to ensure the remaining cancer is stable (not spreading). Soon after diagnosis, Megan and her husband made the decision for her to end her career in Human Resources and focus 100% on Jack. She is now a stay at home mommy, working to create a safe, nurturing environment as Jack recovers emotionally and physically. They fill their days with play dates, trips to the park, and crafts. Jack is thriving and Megan feels blessed to have this time to be at home full time with her busy, happy little boy. The Lloyds have recently launched The Jack Lloyd Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to raise funds benefitting other families facing childhood cancer.
MM: What have you learned about yourself after becoming a mom?
ML: I’ve learned to give myself – and others – grace. When the house is a mess, laundry’s piling up, dishes fill the sink, and I haven’t washed my hair in three days, I try to remind myself of all of the great things we’ve done instead. I’ve always been a perfectionist: house clean, laundry done, car washed, yard tended to, dog groomed, hair done, groceries in the fridge, meals planned, closets organized and labeled to the nth degree, friends talked to weekly, Christmas gifts bought and wrapped a month before Christmas, blah, blah, blah. I quickly learned after having my son that keeping it all together perfectly was simply impossible. So – I learned to live with “good enough,” which was hard for me but I got used to it. When our son was diagnosed with cancer in June (2016), I suddenly realized that NONE of these things matter. Like, at all. Jack was diagnosed on June 7th – our housekeeper came for a regular visit on the 9th, and our house was clean until the end of June while we lived in the hospital and our baby underwent three surgeries. I wanted anything but a clean house – I wanted a busy, healthy toddler making messes minutes after the housekeeper left. A clean, empty, perfect house was haunting. While our situation is a bit unique and dramatic, it has taught me to let things go. The house is often a mess. The laundry is never done. Jack is a normal, bossy, tantrum throwing toddler. I talk to my friends when I can (and they still love me). My husband and I haven’t been on a real date since before Jack got sick (and he still loves me). The dog, Jack, and myself often go several weeks too long between haircuts. I rarely have days where I take a shower, wash my hair, and actually DO my hair all on the same day. And I’ve learned to give myself grace to live like that. I’m busy keeping a little boy happy, healthy, busy, and alive. And right now, that’s enough.
MM: What advice can you give to other moms?
ML: Keep in mind that nothing is permanent – and sometimes that’s a good thing. Your newborn won’t always need to nurse all day. Your six month old won’t always scream his head off when you sneak away for a three minute shower. Your toddler won’t throw temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store when she’s 12. You won’t be sending an 18-year-old to college with diapers or pacifiers. But also remember the other side – that nothing is permanent and you will miss this. The good and the bad. The little moments and the big moments. My son is only two and a half and I’ve already seen things slip my grasp. There will come a day when your little one doesn’t want you to rock him to sleep anymore. Your six-month old won’t always have that deep belly laugh. Your two-year-old won’t always think you’re prettier than Taylor Swift (thankfully, mind does haha). Motherhood is ever-evolving and you change and grow as a mom, just as your kids change and grow. Soak in each day and try to keep some perspective.
MM: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
ML: I hope this doesn’t sound too simple…. But my favorite part of being a mom is just “being a mom.” My earliest memories as a child include pretending to be a mommy to my dolls or my little sister. I love just being Mommy to my son. I love finding things to do with him, seeing him happy, giving him baths, feeding him meals, watching him sleep – the simplest of things bring me such joy. I can’t say I love the temper tantrums, but I know first-hand having a child that’s healthy and strong enough to have a temper tantrum is a blessing. I can’t say I always keep my cool, but just remembering this brings me a lot of peace in the most stressful of parenting situations. I love that being a mom allows me to connect with other moms. I love that I can share this journey with women I’ve known most of my life and see them be moms or become moms. I love that I can share this journey and easily connect with women I’ve only just met, for no reason other than that we share the common bond of motherhood. I love that I can connect with my own mom on a whole different level as I navigate this relatively new role. I honestly just love “being a mom.”